GREENS CALL ON MARSHALL GOVERNMENT FOR CAUTION ON CONFUCIUS CLASSROOMS
Confucius Institutes are a key plank of the Chinese Communist Party's global soft power effort. There are 14 Confucius Institutes in Australian universities and 67 Confucius Classrooms in Australian schools.
In South Australia, there is a ‘Confucius Institute’ (CI) at the University of Adelaide, two Confucius Classrooms in our state's public schools (Salisbury High and Plympton International College), and one Confucius Classroom in the private sector at Christian Brothers College.
Recently, it has been exposed that contracts between many Australian universities typically show agreements binding them to accept Chinese government authority through Hanban. Following a review by the NSW Education Department which initially suspended the expansion of further Confucius Classrooms in that state, the NSW Government have now announced that they will remove the Confucius Classroom program – run in 13 NSW schools - from NSW public schools and replace it with a language and culture program run by the NSW Education Department.
Greens MLC Tammy Franks has today written to the State Education Minister demanding a review of the Confucius Classroom program in South Australia. Ms Franks has also previously called for Adelaide University to reveal the details of their contract with the Confucius Institute, and urged the Minister to also investigate this matter.
The following quotes are attributable to Ms. Franks: “Censorship, discriminatory hiring practices and constraints on curriculum have rightly seen Confucius Institutes shut down elsewhere, particularly in Canada. That same caution should be applied here in South Australia.
“Minister Gardner must step in and halt the expansion of program and urgently review the nature of the contracts and curriculum as has happened in NSW.
“International programs, links, and institutions are both important and valuable, but our engagement with foreign entities such as these embedded Confucius Institutes must never happen at the cost of local academic freedom and autonomy.
“The refusal of Adelaide University to reveal the nature of their contractual arrangements gives cause for concern and that must be released to reassure all members of the South Australian community that it is DECD and not the CCP calling the shots on our local campuses. Confucius Classrooms in South Australia demand the same level of scrutiny as they have now had in NSW.